Thursday, February 22, 2018


One day in 1998 I was sitting in my office when my thoughts strayed to my father, who had died 23 years ago. He was born in 1899 and became a mechanical engineer.  Some of the early technical achievements  of his era included transatlantic radio and the first flight of Orville and Wilbur Wright. What if he came back today? How would he react to the Internet, DNA, cell phones, computers, genetics, ATM’s, and the space station? This led me to think about time travel.

The possibility of time travel has been seriously considered by scientists. Cambridge Professor Steven Hawking concluded that time travel was impossible because of the paradox. This paradox maintains that if a person traveled back in time and murdered his own grandmother, one of his parents would not have been born, and therefore he couldn’t exist.  But apparently that’s not the end of the story. An Israeli scientist found a flaw in Hawking’s argument—something to do with parallel universes.

At any rate, time travel has been a fascinating theme in fiction, starting with Jules Verne’s classic The Time Machine, the humorous A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain, Timeline by Michael Crichton, and many others. I began to write my first novel Stranger in Time.

Suppose Daniel Rowland, a young Connecticut farmer from colonial times, was mysteriously whisked to our present time leaving his wife and unborn child behind. How would he react?  And how would people regard him?

In researching my novel, Stranger in Time, I needed to learn as much as I could about the life and times of colonial Connecticut, the era of Daniel Rowland, my protagonist. My quest began in the Historical Room of the Guilford Free Library where the librarian provided documents and maps of the colonial period.  Next, I explored the old cemetery in Guilford, noting the names and dates on the old tombstones.  For days, I visited some of the historic homes such as the Whitfield House Museum, and wandered around Hammonasset State Park, the site of some colonial farms. During these explorations, the character of the protagonist began to form in my mind as I envisioned the places where Daniel might have lived and the events he could have experienced.

Meetings with the Connecticut State Archaeologist, the Madison Archivist, and the Staff Archaeologist of the Connecticut Historical Commission were all helpful. A numismatist described coins of the colonial era.  I learned much about the Calvinistic beliefs of the Puritans and their services during conversations with the friendly pastor of the First Congregational Church in New Milford. All in all, I enjoyed these activities. The people I met were friendly, enthusiastic, and expressed interest in reading Stranger In Time once I had finished my writing.

Awed by technology and bewildered by the lightning-pace of modern life, Daniel is regarded as an imposter despite his familiarity with obscure details of colonial life. He experiences crime, murder, and medical problems. Unable to return to his wife and unborn child in the distant past, Daniel encounters legal complications when he tries to reclaim his farm lost in the intervening centuries. With an attorney who happened to be one of his descendants, Daniel is helped.

Learn more about Daniel’s adventures in Stranger in Time.

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